Back to School: Free Resources for Lifelong Learners Everywhere

With Labor Day behind us, it’s officially time to head back to school. That applies not just to kids, but to you. No matter what your age, no matter where you live, no matter what your prior level of education, you can continue deepening your knowledge in areas old and new. And it has never been easier. All you need is a computer or smart phone, an internet connection, some free time, and our free educational media collections. They’re available 24/7 and constantly updated:

Free Online Courses: Right now, you can download free courses (some in video, some in audio) created by some of the world’s leading universities — Stanford, Oxford, Yale, Harvard, UC Berkeley, MIT and others. The courses cover pretty much every subject — from philosophy, literature and history, to physics, computer science, engineering and psychology. The collection features about 400 courses in total. And while you can’t take these courses for credit, the amount of personal enrichment offered by these lectures is endless.

Free Textbooks: Another tool for the lifelong learner. This collection brings together roughly 150 free textbooks authored by professors (and some high school teachers) across the globe. The collection will particularly benefit those interested in deepening their knowledge in economics, computer science, mathematics, physics and biology.

Free Language Lessons: Ours is an increasingly globalized world, and it certainly pays to know more than one language. With the free audio lessons listed here, you can learn the basics of Spanish, French and Italian (the languages traditionally taught in American schools). Or you can start boning up on Mandarin, Brazilian Portuguese and other languages spoken by the new world powers. Taken together, you can Learn 40 Languages for Free.

Free Audio Books: This free collection gives you the ability to download audio versions of important literary works. During your downtime, you can listen to short stories by Isaac Asimov, Raymond Carver, Jorge Luis Borges, and Philip K. Dick. Or you can settle into longer works by Jane Austen, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Friedrich Nietzsche and James Joyce.

Free eBooks: Once again, it’s free literary works. But this time you can download e-texts to your computer or digital reader. Franz Kafka, George Orwell, Gertrude Stein, Edgar Allan Poe, Marcel Proust and Kurt Vonnegut. They’re all on the list. And so too are The Harvard Classics, a 51 volume series of enduring works.

Great Science Videos: This list pulls together some of our favorite science videos on the web. It features about 125 videos, covering astronomy & space travel, physics, psychology and neuroscience, religion, technology and beyond.

Intelligent YouTube Sites: Have you ever wanted to separate the wheat from the chaff on YouTube? This list will give you a start. It features over 100 YouTube channels that deliver high quality educational content. Along similar lines, you may want to visit our collection of Intelligent Video Sites. Same concept but applied to sites on the web.

Cultural Icons: If you’ve ever wanted to see great thinkers, artists and writers speaking on video in their own words, this list is for you. It has Borges and Bowie, Coltrane and Coppola, Ayn Rand and Noam Chomsky, Tolstoy and Thomas Edison, among others. 275 cultural icons in total.

Free Movies Online: What better way to get a cultural education than to watch some free cinematic masterpieces, including 15 films with Charlie Chaplin, 22 early films by Alfred Hitchcock, 25 Westerns with John Wayne, and a number of Soviet classics by Andrei Tarkovsky. The list of 400+ films goes on. And so does your cultural education….

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  1. sml (ok?) says . . . | September 6, 2011 / 2:59 pm

    nice post. keep up the good work. i’ve been through much of this, having followed open culture for a while, but it’s good to consolidate from time to time. i will link to this and send people here. cheers!

  2. Dan Colman says . . . | September 6, 2011 / 4:58 pm

    Thanks SML. Appreciate that!
    Dan

  3. Yknot says . . . | September 9, 2011 / 7:38 pm

    Wow! @brain picker just gave a link to your site & I am Grateful! Hope to start soon!

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